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    Customers Protest Marathon Station

    Demonstrators angry at what they call serious price gouging in Mich.

    Customers continued to picket a Marathon convenience store in Warren, Mich. yesterday claiming the owner of the independently-owned unit raised prices to $5 a gallon Sept. 11, following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The protests have lasted seven days.

    The station raised the price of regular gas after a competing station increased its price to $1.99 from $1.63, according to WDIV TV in Detroit.

    Panic over Middle East strife in the wake of the attacks caused station owners to inflate prices last week. Motorists began lining up at stations across the region the evening of the attacks, following reports of rising prices throughout the Midwest.

    Marathon's wholesale rate to owners increased 15 cents at the time, the report said.

    Despite the hefty price, the Marathon station sold out of gas and then closed. Word of the hefty prices reached police, who came to the station to speak to the owner. Prices at the store dropped shortly after officers intervened.

    Customers said that they were angry because the owner allegedly refused to even apologize for over-charging customers. Protesters vowed to continue picketing. The unidentified owner refused comment on the demonstrations.

    State Attorney General Jennifer Granholm said the day following the attack that she was sending
    notices to a number of gas stations for violating the state's Consumer Protection Act by increasing prices. Violators would face $20,000 fines for attempting to take advantage of motorists, the report said.

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